Catherine Mitchell, founder of Flat Fee Tax Academy

From getting hired for their first jobs to managing different side hustles to filing taxes, all of these things require young people to have some basic understanding of a paycheck and how to maximize earning power.

That was Catherine Mitchell’s inspiration behind the launch of her Tax Academy under her company Flat Fee Tax Pre & Service. She is gifting two full-ride scholarships to two Sheldon ISD students to attend the six-month program.

Mitchell said her goal is to prepare graduating high school seniors with the resources they need to understand the taxes and help them become six-figure earners in the tax prep industry.

“It’s important that these students learn personal finance early. In order to perform tax prep, you have to be at least 18,” Mitchell said. “This is a great stream of income and a good pathway to entrepreneurship.”

This is the first season that the tax academy launched with 60 students in session. The program offers group mentoring and coaching, tax software and tax preparation courses.

“Some common mistakes I notice is young people thinking they can make money and not pay taxes because of their age,” she said. “A lot of people think they can dive into entrepreneurship without leadership or proper guidance. We are in the age of YouTube and Google as the solution, but sometimes when you try to piece things together, you might miss out on very intricate details.”

Person Financial Literacy (PLF) courses are considered a high school elective in Texas according to the Texas Education Agency. Students aren’t required to take and complete the course for graduation.

Felicia Johnson, personal finance teacher at Sheldon ISD

“It should be mandatory for students to take a personal finance course because the overall tax knowledge as average Americans is low,” said Felicia Johnson, personal finance teacher at C.E King High School.

“Many students there are either on free or reduced lunch so families having to pay a tax professional $200-$400 would be a financial burden. Teaching about taxes could save students and families money and the scholarship will help bridge the wealth gap also.”

Mitchell was invited by Johnson to speak to her class about taxes. Her students learned the basics of investing, paying for college, opening a checking and savings account, how to land a job and budgeting.

“All of this will help create generational wealth in the long run,” said Johnson. “By the time they are my age hopefully most of them will be millionaires.”

For more information visit Flat Free Credit Tax Prep & Services

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...